Safety Relevant in the NFL for Five Reasons

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The safety is more common than many might think in the NFL, and for the team scoring the safety there are five reasons this is important. Safeties occur about once per week in the National Football League. Safety averages calculated beginning in 1932, show that the safety has happened once every 14.31 games. Therefore, while they appear rare to fans of the game they happen more than people realize.

Americans are always looking for new ways to keep their football exciting. They enjoy betting on random facts of the games as well as knowing trivia their family and friends may not know. While safeties may not happen often, they are perfect for creating trivia for avid fans to spout. Statistics are relevant to safeties as well, which becomes a gambler’s delight. The safety is fun, relevant and quirky in the NFL, and here are five reasons to agree.

1. Two points can make all the difference. The safety is worth two points and happens when the ball carrier, on the offensive side, is tackled behind his team’s goal line. In 1945, the Washington Redskins played a championship game against the Cleveland Rams. During the first quarter, the quarterback for the Redskins threw a pass that hit the goal post and landed in the end zone. The Rams won 15-14. The following year the rule changed and that would become an incomplete pass, but for the Redskins it cost them the game.

2. Great plays can come from safety plays. Back in February, of this year the Seahawks scored a safety against the Denver Broncos in the first 12 seconds of the Super Bowl.

3. Safeties can make history. In January of 2012, the Atlanta Falcons scored only two points during their entire game against the New York Giants. This was the first time in NFL history that this type of play occurred during the playoffs. Previously, it had happened only six times during regular season games. In five of those six, the winning team scored those two points.

4. A safety can be worth only one point sometimes. This will happen during a conversion play – one point will be awarded rather than the normal two. The play involved a defensive player who is able to bat the ball out of the end zone – all while never taking actual possession of it.

5. They indicate a poor job done by the other team. As happy as one team is with their ability to score a safety, it comes at a price. The safety is seen as a punishment to the opposing team – they were unable to do their jobs properly. Safeties happen less than punt returns. Then to top it off they must kick from their 20-yard line after giving up those two points. Some sports writers see this as double the punishment for somebody not paying attention.

Safeties are not worth much in the grand scheme of a game, but for the players they can be uplifting. Either a defensive player has sacked the quarterback or they have made a great tackle. Either way, the result is two points on the board. These five reasons are evidence that the safety may be small, but it packs a big punch making it still relevant in the NFL today.

By Sara Kourtsounis

The New York Times
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